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I have heard that Los Angeles County has more museums than any county in America – Our L.A. territory literally has hundreds and hundreds of museums.  Knowing all the good young students that the Santa Clarita Valley educates, I have long been waiting the signs toward developing a really good museum in this particular valley.  And my friend Bill Reynolds made me think about this subject again with his column here last week championing the idea of a great new war veteran’s museum in this valley.

Already Bill Reynolds in his yeoman championship of veterans is in the middle of bringing a magnificent war memorial to the valley, and so even the first step of creating a war veteran’s museum would have to wait until that project is completed, so that its patrons would take a breath before starting the next task.  But in the meantime, we have now a period where we can discuss what you and I would like to see in a war veteran’s museum in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Remember that I am a teacher, and so my angle is influenced by how educational such a project would turn out.

I did think that such a museum would need an outdoor logo that would readily identify it.   That logo could be a Sherman tank outside the museum that had perhaps fought in the Battle of the Bulge, or perhaps a Wildcat fighter plane that had battled in the Battle of the Midway, suitable for young students to jump in out of.

Being the teacher that I am, I would also like to see a way that a military museum could bring on the center stage our vast military book and movie culture, ranging from classics like The Naked and the Dead and From Here to Eternity and Saving Private Ryan and A Bridge Too Far, accompanied by introductory lectures to these classic war movies by qualified docents who know how to talk to young people.

With a movie theater for military movies, a book store for military books would be especially welcome.  However, I believe that a true museum of war vets would not just feature the standard historical best sellers such as The Naked and the Dead and From Here to Eternity.  As a service to the community, I believe a local war vets museum would offer a unique service by highlighting the displays of self-published war-experience books that are written by veterans in Southern California, with the book store serving as a safe haven for these authors lending themselves to public talks and book signings to our community,

Moreover, I think it would be excellent if local vets might serve as docents to the museum in their own military uniforms.  Again, I am thinking of the value of a good docent to a family who takes the initiative of returning to the museum, upon the arrival of traveling exhibits.

Certainly the director of a war vets museum should ideally be himself or herself a war vet, with the museum board comprising a wider spectrum of educational and civic backgrounds.

With all that, the experience of the museum goer should be a better understanding of what a soldier in battle deals with not just during the time of the battle but for the rest of his or her life.  Certainly there should be representation here from American Veterans groups including Veterans of Foreign Wars and Am-vets to bring support such as qualified docents and speakers to the museums activities.

And in this time a museum of military vets should bring exhibits that will address the tough questions involved with being a veteran today – including an accelerating suicide rate and homelessness rate that has exceeded the problems of earlier generations of veterans.

In other words, a museum like this could be the perfect Venn Diagram between military veterans like Bill Reynolds and non-veterans like me, both us benefiting from the overlapping in the middle

Chris Sharp- Commentary

Chris Sharp is an Educator and a prize-winning professional writer. He has recently published a new book titled How to Like a Human Being . Sharp's latest book is an Amazon Kindle collection of his published short stories, Every Kind of Angel . His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.